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10 Things We Wish They Taught Us In School!

2022 Sep 8

For many of us, the transition from school life to the ‘grown-up world’ was similar to knowing the ingredients but not the recipe, or the dish. We know we learned everything that was properly taught to us, yet somehow there are things, which have now become crucial to know, that we seem to have missed. Here are some of those things they didn’t teach you in school!

1. Managing finances

When making career and lifestyle decisions, you would benefit immensely from having a solid foundation in financial literacy. And guess what, what constitutes financial literacy today would only be valid 30 years or less into the future. So, it is a knowledge base that constantly needs to be revised and upgraded.

However, one simple method you could apply today towards your financial independence is the 50:30:20 method.

  • Spend 50% of the income on necessities
  • Save 20% of the income
  • Spend 30% of the income on other expenses


2. EPF and ETF

When you enter the world of work, EPF and ETF are two things you need to properly maintain from the very first job. EPF is essentially a retirement scheme for employees in the private and semi-government sector who aren’t entitled to a pension. ETF is a long-term savings and investment scheme established to benefit employees. Here’s everything you need to know!


EPF (Employees’ Provident Fund)

EPF is 20% of your monthly gross income. 8% of this amount needs to be contributed by you while 12% is contributed by the employer. This amount accumulates over time along with annual interest.

EPF entitles you to retirement benefits at the age of 50 years if you are a female and at the age of 55 years if you are a male. These funds can also be withdrawn in the events of migration, permanent disability, leaving employment due to marriage (only for women) and joining a pensionable employment. In addition, EPF facilitates obtaining loans for housing purposes.

Visit epf.lk to learn more about EPF.


ETF (Employees’ Trust Fund)

ETF is 3% of your monthly gross income, and it needs to be contributed by your employer. This amount accumulates over time along with the annual interest and dividend.

Unlike for the EPF, there is no compulsory age for withdrawing funds from the ETF. These funds can be withdrawn in the events of retirement, resignation, vacation of post and dismissal. To withdraw funds, it is compulsory that your employment has ended. Once you’ve withdrawn your funds, you can’t withdraw funds again for another 5 years.

Visit etfb.lk to learn more about ETF.


3. Tax

Two taxes that you must learn about are personal income tax and VAT.

From the 1st of October, for the first LKR 1.2 million of your annual taxable income (LKR. 100,000 monthly income), you will be taxed 4%. For every LKR 1.2 million that comes next, the tax rate increases by 4%.

VAT is the tax on the goods and services that you consume. From October, VAT will be 15%, which means, though there are exceptions, for the goods and services you purchase, you will pay a tax of 15%.


4. Insurance

Insurance protects you from financial loss, typically accounting for large payments you have to make in certain situations.  Here are a few basic things you need to know about different types of insurance.

Motor insurance covers loss of and damages to your motor vehicle in the events of road accidents, theft, fire, etc. It also covers liability to third parties in the events of physical injuries and property damage.

Health insurance covers healthcare expenses for hospitalization, medical treatments, medical testing/checkups and medication.

Life insurance covers in the event of your death. The insurer will pay a person you choose (spouse, child, etc.) a sum of money following your death.

Note that insurances differ according to the insurance policy and the company. It is important to select the best insurance policy for your requirements and lifestyle.


5. The importance of mental health

Mental health is just as important as you physical wellbeing. Poor mental health can lead to anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation.

There are many ways to improve your mental health. Among them are being physically active, talking to a professional or someone you trust about how you are feeling, following a healthy diet, getting sufficient sleep and disconnecting more often from the online sphere.

You can reach out to these organisations for mental health support:


6. Sexual consent

Sexual consent is voluntary agreement between participants to engage in sexual activity. Consent isn’t voluntary if there is use of force, threats, intimidation or deception. Consent can be withdrawn at any time, even after sexual activity has begun. Sex without consent is rape or sexual assault and is punishable by law.

These do NOT mean consent:

  • Silence
  • Absence of ‘no’ or ‘stop’
  • Bodily reactions to sexual stimuli
  • There being a previous or current physical or/and emotional relationship

You can reach out to these organisations to report rape or sexual assault and for support:

  • Child and Women Bureau of the Sri Lanka Police – 0112 444 444
  • National Child Protection Authority – 1929
  • Women in Need – 0114 718 585


7. Birth control methods

Birth control methods or contraceptives help you prevent unplanned pregnancies. There are many forms of birth control. Here’s what you need to know!

Using male or female condoms is the only method that prevents pregnancy and STIs simultaneously.

While male condoms are 85% – 98% effective, female condoms are 79% – 90% effective.

Emergency contraception or hormone-based pills need to be taken within 72 hours after having unprotected sex. Emergency contraception is 58% – 95% effective depending on how quickly you take it.

Implants are one or two small silicone rods inserted under the skin on the arm of a female. Implants release hormones into the bloodstream to prevent ovaries from releasing eggs and to thicken cervical mucus to stop sperm from reaching the egg. Implants last for 3 or 5 years and are 99% effective.

Injections are hormonal shots given to a female to prevent ovaries from releasing eggs and to thicken cervical mucus to stop sperm from reaching the egg. These injections need to be taken once every 1 or 3 months and are 97% – 99% effective.

Intrauterine devices (IUDs) are placed inside the womb. An IUD releases copper ions that immobilise sperm. An IUD lasts for 5 or 10 years and is 99% effective.

‘The pill’ contains hormones and needs to be taken daily by females. It prevents ovaries from releasing eggs and thickens cervical mucus to stop sperm from reaching the egg. Pills are 90% – 99% effective.


8. Law and fundamental rights

Especially during these times, it is imperative to know what rights you have.

You can’t be discriminated against based on the place of birth, race, religion, language, gender, sexual orientation, caste or political views.

You are entitled to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including the freedom to have or adopt a religion or belief of your choice.

You can’t be arrested except according to procedure established by law. If you are arrested, you need to be informed of the reason for the arrest.


9. Online etiquette

Online etiquette is how you behave online. A few tips that will improve your online etiquette are:

  • Always be respectful online. Remember that real people are behind the screen.
  • Learn about misinformation, disinformation and malinformation. Check the accuracy of the information you share.
  • Respect people’s privacy.


10. Online safety

Among the threats you need to be aware of online are cyberbullying, online sexual and other predators, posting private information, account hacking, pishing, online scams, shopping on unknown shopping sites and malware. It would be very beneficial to learn about each of these threats to ensure your online safety.

Here are a few basic steps to protect yourself online:

  • Create strong passwords and change these passwords periodically. Also, use different passwords for different accounts.
  • Install a virus guard

Be wary of suspicious activity on your accounts. Take notice of sign in alerts, etc.

  • Be wary when sharing personally identifiable information (PII) online. PII allows someone to identify, locate or contact you. This information includes home address, contact details, bank details, etc.
  • Know your privacy settings.
  • Be wary of the emails you open and the webpages you navigate.

You need to know these essential contacts to report cyber threats:


While undoubtedly school life was some of the best years of our lives, some of the most important lessons were not taught to us. Perhaps the biggest difference between school and the real world is, in school, we learn the lesson to take the test. Out here, we take the test and learn the lesson.

What are some of the things you learned through life experience that school just did not teach?